Hank Poteat named cornerbacks coach at Wisconsin
Experienced coach and NFL veteran rounds out Badgers’ coaching staff
Credit Source: University of Wisconsin Athletics
MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin football coaching staff has been set for the 2021 season with the addition of cornerbacks coach Hank Poteat.
Head coach Paul Chryst announced Poteat’s hiring Thursday.
Poteat comes to Wisconsin following a 10-year NFL career and a successful run coaching cornerbacks in the Mid-American Conference. After spending two seasons as a graduate assistant at Pittsburgh under Chryst from 2013-14, Poteat was named cornerbacks coach at Kent State in 2015 and coached the Golden Flashes’ corners for two seasons before holding the same position at Toledo for the past four years.
“I’m excited to be working with Hank again,” Chryst said. “He’s a tremendous person and a great coach. I’m really fired up for our players to get the chance to be coached by Hank because I think he’s a terrific teacher and will really connect with our guys.”
“First and foremost what drew me to the job is Coach Chryst,” Poteat said. “Having the opportunity to work with him and his staff again is exciting, and I’m thrilled to be able to reconnect. This is also a great step in my career as a coach. I started as GA at Pitt and learned from that tremendous group of coaches and then had the opportunity to really spread my wings as a coach in the MAC. To be able to take the next step and coach this outstanding group of players in the Big Ten is an honor.”
Poteat joins a Wisconsin staff that includes several coaches with whom he worked at Pittsburgh, including Chryst, associate head coach Joe Rudolph, special teams coordinator Chris Haering, defensive line coach Ross Kolodziej, tight ends coach Mickey Turner and Director of Football Strength and Conditioning Shaun Snee.
“This is a great opportunity to coach with guys that I know well and to reconnect my family with their families as we get settled in Madison,” Poteat said.
Poteat rounds out a defensive coaching staff led by defensive coordinator Jim Leonhard that also includes Kolodziej, outside linebackers coach Bobby April and inside linebackers coach Bob Bostad.
“I’ve heard so many good things about Coach Leonhard from guys that we both crossed paths with in the NFL,” Poteat said. “We both have similar backgrounds in terms of being in the league for a long time and playing for several teams throughout our careers. More importantly we have similar backgrounds and ideas in terms of how we approach coaching young men. That’s another thing that really drew me to the job.”
Poteat helped Toledo win the MAC title in his first season on staff in 2017, a year in which the Rockets ranked No. 22 nationally in passing efficiency defense. Among his most successful players at Toledo were Samuel Womack – who ranked in a tie for fourth nationally with 15 pass breakups as a junior in 2019 and was named first-team All-MAC by Pro Football Focus in 2020 – and Ka’dar Hollman, who began his career as a walk-on and was drafted by the Green Bay Packers in 2019.
He also helped produce three All-MAC cornerbacks during his two seasons at Kent State in Najee Murray, Jerrell Foster and Demetrius Monday.
Before he got his start in coaching, Poteat was an outstanding cornerback and kick returner at Pittsburgh from 1996-99, earning first-team All-Big East honors at cornerback as a junior and senior. He left Pitt holding the school records for kick return yards in a season (764 in 1998) and a career (2,010).
A third-round selection of the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 2000 NFL Draft, Poteat played for five NFL teams over 10 seasons. He earned a Super Bowl ring as a member of the 2004 New England Patriots, joining the team for its playoff run and helping to defeat Philadelphia in Super Bowl XXXIX. He also played for Tampa Bay, the New York Jets and the Cleveland Browns during his pro career.
Poteat graduated from Pittsburgh in 2011 with a degree in social sciences. He and wife Jasmine have two daughters, Ariana and Sierra, and a son, Tre.
Hank Poteat Coaching Experience
2011-12: Kentucky Christian (cornerbacks)
2013-14: Pittsburgh (graduate assistant)
2015-16: Kent State (cornerbacks)
2017-20: Toledo (cornerbacks)
2021: Wisconsin (cornerbacks)